I’m growing armour, my amour.
Thick leather and scurf is all over my body
replacing my skin, now creeping along the walls of my lungs.
By degrees my breath grows numb.
I wake up and my head is enveloped in tin.
I slide back a little door, and there you are sleeping
and I close it again.
My mouth rattles at the grating. If you are to hear me
I must shout everything.
I clank hopelessly when we go walking, like a terrible
broken engine, pistons frothing. My amour you take my rusted hand
and lift it gently, not minding.
Listen to Ashleigh Young read ‘My Amour‘
Afternoon with Jane
the whole package!’
No one had ever
called me a package
before. ‘Well,’ I said, ‘I’m a package,
of sorts.’ Or I hoped to be one,
one day – bundled together, on
in the high-backed chair, wearing her enormous black skirt
and crinkly leather boots (like dead balloons, but beautiful
on her particular feet), a thick clot of hematite
beaded round her neck, and her blown-glass hair
It is possible to stare and stare at Jane
who is beautiful in such a way
that one never grows bored
but some do grow sad, in her company.
I stared, and felt myself go
as my resolve opened,
dispatched itself in pieces.
‘Stop,’ Jane said, ‘stop writing
your lists and go out and do
something. Ask out Nose Boy – ask him his name.
‘It’s hopeless,’ because that is the nature
of hopelessness; echoing itself, bending in on itself
through an infinity of selves, like a room
full of mirrors: every surface
mounting another to breed millions more.
of hope, she said: it refracts
hopelessness, and fills you –
as a mailroom, piled high with mail –
with many more hopes, all waiting to be posted
into the present tense: it is
many wrongly addressed but all destined
to travel –
she said this, my friend Jane,
her explanation gorgeously wrought
but ultimately unwrappable;
she narrowed her cut-glass eyes
as if she thought she could see
the names and addresses
of all the mail bundled in me.
Giving My Father Frights
of opportunity for giving my father frights.
Our house is for hiding in.
We crouch in the porch, waiting for the bend of his shadow.
The frightening of him
happens in slow, simultaneous motion: we leap
and my father’s feet
explode from the floor
and like a man falling he roars –
and finds us instead, flared eyes and limbs
springing at him, blowing chip packets and muesli into the air –
we hang motionless in the long curtains
we hide in his suits, in the wardrobe
and once in the ceiling –
beside him, as he is sleeping. There is no sound
like my father’s roar, its fury and fear,
each time we burst out at him
like the living dead.
for a time when
a doorway was a welcome
the pantry unforthcoming
the wardrobe hung only with clothes:
all the empty suits, waiting.
Listen to Ashleigh Young read ‘Giving My Father Frights‘
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ashleigh Young lives in Wellington and works as a bookseller and occasional freelance writer. Her poems have appeared in Sport, Best New Zealand Poems, and the anthology Great Sporting Moments. She is currently shambling her way through a small, first collection of poems.